NLB could tweak app to encourage more to read

A library user with a smartphone using the app launched by National Library Board.
A library user with a smartphone using the app launched by National Library Board.PHOTO: ST FILE

In 2016, the National Library Board (NLB) launched the National Reading Movement in the hope of encouraging more people to read.

While it is a good initiative, there is still room for improvement.

To ensure the success of this initiative, the movement has to be aimed at changing the mindsets of people in Singapore.

For this to happen, people have to realise the benefits of reading so that they will pick reading over other activities.

As habits are cultivated from a young age, the NLB could work hand in hand with schools to set aside reading time in primary schools or kindergartens to promote reading among the younger generation. Schools can take pupils to the library for drama or role-playing sessions to make the reading process enjoyable.

Pupils will also feel motivated to read once they enjoy the process.

For youth and young adults, the change in behaviour can be initiated through the NLB application, as these people are likely to be tech-savvy.

Those who do not have time to go to the library can borrow e-books and reserve books through the app.

As the app allows for borrowed e-books to be read online, it will encourage those who commute by public transport to read on the way to work or school.

Making some improvements to the app may encourage more people to read.

While these e-books can be read offline, it would be better if the application were upgraded to include a reading-progress function, which would allow the reader to track his progress.

This can include an option for readers to set goals, as well as weekly or monthly targets.

Once either of these is achieved, rewards, such as bookstore vouchers, can be given to readers.

The app can also include a calendar or to-do list for working adults to find and set aside time to read.

Wong Si Ying

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2019, with the headline 'NLB could tweak app to encourage more to read'. Subscribe